The county Chief of Staff will be reporting to all three commissioners instead of mainly the Chairman if the second reading passes at the next Board of Commissioners voting session.
The first reading of the ordinance change, a later addition to the agenda, was approved in a 2-1 vote Tuesday morning with Chairman Richard Oden voting against.
“It would actually be returning the Chief of Staff to reporting to all three commissioners,” said Commissioner JaNice Van Ness.
The main changes between the proposed ordinance and the ordinance on the books include replacing "subject to the direction of the chairperson" with "subject to the direction of the board of commissioners" and "Assist the chairperson and board of commissioners" with "Assist the board of commissioners."
Commissioner Oz Nesbitt asked to take an executive session to discuss the matter. “I’m not abreast as to the direction of this ordinance,” he said.
After the executive session, Nesbitt said, “As often as I’ve talked about being fair and equal for our citizens as well as the employees of our government, certainly that includes the Board of Commissioners.”
“We have to make sure we’re making decisions that are also fair and equal within the ranks of the Board of Commissioners.”
After the meeting, he said "I feel the Chief of Staff has done a fine job, is doing a fine job. I have no complaint about the execution of his duty. However I have a colleague who sees things from a different perspective as she interacts with him.
"Every commissioner has to be respected and deserves the same level of response and attention as any other board member," Nesbitt said. "My vote was based upon moving the county forward from the level of right leadership, effective communication, and accounatability."
He pointed out, "The Chairman has a ton of lieutenants and captains that can respond to every beck and call because he's the day to day commissioner. When the two part time commissioners want to see something done, they literally have to carry it through themselves to see it done."
Van Ness echoed the sentiment. "Right now we're asked for our goals and objectives in December and they're never discussed again," she said.
The reporting structure was changed after Greg Pridgeon was appointed chief of staff, said Van Ness, because the Chairman felt it would be difficult to have the chief of staff answer to "three masters."
"But for benefit of communication it's important the chief of staff works with all three of us on an equal basis," she said.